OV’s Terrell Earns Methodist Sports Medicine ‘Comeback Athlete Award’
Methodist Sports Medicine/ The Orthopedic Specialists has announced its “Comeback Athlete Award” winners for the months of January, February and March. The following student-athletes overcame serious injuries and challenging odds to complete their comebacks.
The January “Comeback Athlete Award” recipient is Whitney Terrell, a fourth-year varsity swimmer and recent graduate of Owen Valley High School, who dislocated her knee cap during a swim meet on December 1, 2011. The painful injury threatened her senior campaign, but she didn’t allow it to deter her dreams.
After only four weeks of recovery, Whitney dove back into the pool to prepare for the Western Indiana Conference meet on January 28, 2012. In exhilarating fashion, she won the 100-meter backstroke with a near-record time.
“Swimming has been my life since freshman year, so when I got hurt I told myself that I was going to swim at conference,” Terrell said. “I never knew that I would do this well, but I’m very thankful that I pushed myself when I got back into the pool.”
She plans to continue her education and become a radiologic technologist in the medical field. She would love to swim at the next level if the opportunity presented itself.
The February “Comeback Athlete Award” recipient is Richard Long-Duran, a senior at George Washington Community High School, who had to overcome a severe wrist injury away from the comfort of his home. Before his senior year, Richard left his family in Arizona to complete his high school degree in Indianapolis, where he lived with his cousin. He played on the Continentals soccer team in the fall and decided to wrestle for the first time in his life in the winter.
During the Indianapolis city wrestling tournament on December 17, 2011, Richard tore ligaments in his right wrist, possibly ending his season. Richard attended every practice while recovering and cheered for his teammates at matches. Doctors finally cleared him to wrestle in sectionals on January 28, 2012, and he won two of his final four matches.
“I finished my season as I should have because I was determined to finish it right and not give up,” Long-Duran said.
Richard plans to return to Arizona and attend college in a business program. He has not decided if he will continue his athletic career.
The March “Comeback Athlete Award” recipient is Haley Bechtel, a senior on the women’s basketball and volleyball teams at Fairfield High School. Haley suffered a devastating injury during a volleyball match September 25, 2011. Haley jumped to spike the ball and as she landed, she tore her ACL and MCL in her knee. Haley was a leader and her loss was devastating to the team.
Doctors told Haley her recovery could take up to six months, but her attitude was superb and she would not let her teammates down. She cheered and encouraged them from the sidelines during the remainder of the volleyball season.
Going into her senior basketball season, Haley was close to 1,000 career points, but her injury was an obstacle between her and that milestone. Haley never missed a practice and continued to rehab faithfully. Four months following her surgery, her surgeon medically cleared her to play basketball in mid-January for the Lady Falcons. She returned to the court for the final two regular season games and played both sectional games.
“The injury was heartbreaking, but I tried to stay positive during my comeback,” Hailey said. “In my first game back, the crowd cheered for me and it was a feeling I will never forget.”
Hailey fell 25 points shy of 1,000 career points, but she said being able to finish her senior year on the court – not the sidelines – was the most rewarding accomplishment. Hailey received a full scholarship to continue her volleyball career starting in fall 2012 at Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Kentucky.
“We celebrate Whitney, Richard and Haley’s comebacks and recognize these student-athletes exhibited leadership qualities that are above and beyond their ages,” said Pete Sallay, M.D., president of Methodist Sports Medicine/The Orthopedic Specialists.
The Comeback Athlete Award is a monthly award honoring a different Indiana high school or college athlete who has overcome adversity or injury and returned to excel beyond expectations in his or her respective sport.
In order to be nominated each month, the student-athlete must play one of the following sports during these designated seasons:
•August to November awards (fall sports): boys’ tennis, cross country, football, girls’ golf, soccer, volleyball
•December to March awards (winter sports): basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, swimming
•April to June awards (spring sports): baseball, boys’ golf, girls tennis, softball, track
To nominate a comeback athlete from Indiana, visit www.comebackathlete.com. Nominations should include one to two sentences describing why he or she should win the “Comeback Athlete Award” and the nature of the injury or adversity that the student-athlete overcame.
Comeback Athletes of the Month will each receive an Under Armour workout shirt as well as recognition at the Thomas A. Brady, MD Comeback Scholarship Award ceremonies on April 12.
About Methodist Sports Medicine/The Orthopedic Specialists
Methodist Sports Medicine/The Orthopedic Specialists, a partner of Indiana University Health, is Central Indiana’s premier provider of comprehensive orthopedic services and has built its reputation on excellence in orthopedics and sports medicine for more than 25 years. Official team physicians for many high schools, college and professional teams, including the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, 100 percent of the group’s orthopedic surgeons are fellowship trained, board certified and leaders in new technologies, procedures and research. For more information, please visit www.methodistsports.com.
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